Khun Sa was a Burmese warlord. He was also dubbed the “Opium King” due to his opium trading in the so-called Golden Triangle.
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Grasshopper chairs by Eero Saarinen.
María Sabina was the first contemporary Mexican curandera, defined as a native shaman, to allow Westerners to participate in the healing vigil that became known as the velada, where all participants partake of the psilocybe mushroom as a sacrament to open the gates of the mind.
Sabina cultivated relationships with several of them, including Wasson, who became something of a friend. It is a matter of record, that many important 60s celebrities visited María Sabina, including rock stars such as Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Simone Fernando Sacconi was an expert Italian violin maker and restorer who studied fellow luthier Antonio Stradivari extensively during his lifetime.
In 1980, the landmark series Cosmos premiered on public television. Since then, it is estimated that more than a billion people around the planet have seen it. Cosmos chronicles the evolution of the planet and efforts to find our place in the universe. Each of the 13 episodes focuses on a specific aspect of the nature of life, consciousness, the universe and time.
Françoise Sagan. French novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, whose wrote dispassionate portrayals of bored, amoral middle-class people.
An excerpt from Sand, Wind And Stars:
But by the grace of the airplane I have known a more extraordinary experience than this, and have been made to ponder with even more bewilderment the fact that this earth that is our home is yet in truth a wandering star. A minor accident had forced me down in the Rio de Oro region, in Spanish Africa. Landing on one of those table-lands of the Sahara which fall away steeply at the sides, I found myself on the flat top of the frustum of a cone, an isolated vestige of a plateau that had crumbled round the edges. In this part of the Sahara such truncated cones are visible from the air every hundred miles or so, their smooth surfaces always at about the same altitude above the desert and their geologic substance always identical. The surface sand is composed of minute and distinct shells; but progressively as you dig along a vertical section, the shells become more fragmentary, tend to cohere, and at the base of the cone form a pure calcareous deposit. Without question, I was the first human being ever to wander over this…this iceberg: its sides were remarkably steep, no Arab could have climbed them, and no European had as yet ventured into this wild region. I was thrilled by the virginity of a soil which no step of man or beast had sullied. I lingered there, startled by this silence that never had been broken. The first star began to shine, and I said to myself that this pure surface had lain here thousands of years in sight only of the stars. But suddenly my musings on this white sheet and these shining stars were endowed with a singular significance. I had kicked against a hard, black stone, the size of a man’s fist, a sort of moulded rock of lava incredibly present on the surface of a bed of shells a thousand feet deep. A sheet spread beneath an apple-tree can receive only apples; a sheet spread beneath the stars can receive only stardust. Never had a stone fallen from the skies made known its origin so unmistakably. And very naturally, raising my eyes, I said to myself that from the height of this Celestial apple-tree there must have dropped other fruits, and that I should find them exactly where they fell, since never from the beginning of time had anything been present to displace them. Excited by my adventure, I picked up one and then a second and then a third of these stones, finding them at about the rate of one stone to the acre. And here is where my adventure became magical, for in a striking foreshortening of time that embraced thousands of years, I had become the witness of this miserly rain from the stars. The marvel of marvels was that there on the rounded back of the planet, between this magnetic sheet and those stars, a human consciousness was present in which as in a mirror that rain could be reflected.
Francisco Salamone was an Argentine architect of Italian descent who, between 1936 and 1940, during the Infamous Decade, built more than 60 municipal buildings with elements of Art Deco style in 25 rural communities on the Argentine Pampas within the Buenos Aires Province. These buildings were some of the first examples of modern architecture in rural Argentine.
Jonas Salk made scientists and journalists alike go goofy. As one of the only living scientists whose face was known the world over, Salk, in the public’s eye, had a superstar aura. Airplane pilots would announce that he was on board, and passengers would burst into applause. Hotels routinely would upgrade him into their penthouse suites. A meal at a restaurant inevitably meant an interruption from an admirer… and scientists approached him with drop-jawed wonder, as though some of the stardust might rub off.
The Sanzhi UFO houses were a set of abandoned pod-shaped buildings in Sanzhi, Taiwan.
Carlo Scarpa was an Italian architect, influenced by the materials, landscape, and the history of Venetian culture, and Japan
Inspired by Dougal Stermer’s book ‘Vanishing Flora’, Roman Kaiser worked for more than ten years on collecting the scent of 267 endangered plant species worldwide. In the present volume, he invites us to a journey along the hotspots of biodiversity, all of them bearing endangered species, and discusses their scents.
Friedrich Schiller was one of the sickest, as you can tell by reading this essay on poetry.
The Schynige Platte Railway is a mountain railway in the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland. An impressively varied natural landscape unfolds on the journey: fertile forests, Alpine pastures and breathtaking views of the Bernese Oberland with Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Then a sudden change of scenery to the almost overwhelming view of the glistening giants of the Bernese Oberland, directly opposite, the imposing peaks of the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau.
Seawise Giant was a ULCC supertanker and the longest ship ever built, and possessed the greatest deadweight tonnage ever recorded. Fully laden, her displacement was 657,019 tonnes the heaviest ship of any kind, and with a draft of 24.6 m (81 ft), she was incapable of navigating the English Channel, the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal.
Frederick Courteney Selous was a British explorer, officer, hunter, and conservationist, famous for his exploits in south and east of Africa.
Luigi Serafini. The world’s best illustrator. These are drawings from Etimologiario by Maria Sebregondi. You know him from your favorite FMR book.
Shergar was an acclaimed racehorse, and winner of the 1981 Epsom Derby by a record 10 lengths, the longest winning margin in the race’s 226-year history. On 8 February 1983, he was stolen from the Ballymany Stud, near The Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland by masked gunmen with the body never being discovered. The incident has been the inspiration for several books, documentaries, and a film.
Walter Sickert was a cosmopolitan and eccentric who favoured ordinary people and urban scenes as his subjects.
William James Sidis was an American child prodigy with exceptional mathematical and linguistic abilities. He first became famous for his precocity, and later for his eccentricity and withdrawal from the public eye. He avoided mathematics entirely in later life, writing on other subjects under a number of pseudonyms. With an estimated ratio IQ of 250–300he is often cited as one of the most intelligent people who ever lived.
A common newspaper practice in the early years of the 20th century in Western Australia was the production of a few copies of the first edition printed on cloth in addition to paper copies. Usually printed on silk or cotton, they are a beautiful and enduring memento of the birth of a newspaper. When is Maison Martin Margiela gonna do this?
Silphium was a plant that was used in classical antiquity as a rich seasoning and as a medicine. It was the essential item of trade from the ancient North African city of Cyrene, and was so critical to the Cyrenian economy that most of their coins bore a picture of the plant.
A woman of taste and influence: In the first of an occasional series about insiders who have subtly changed the course of fashion, Irene Silvagni, one of the most idiosyncratic editors to have worked at French Vogue, talks about her long career, and her passion for photography.
Silvery-cheeked Hornbill is a large bird at 75 to 80 centimetres (30 to 31 in) in length with a very large creamy casque on the beak.
Sima Humboldt is an enormous sinkhole located on the summit of the plateau of Sarisariñama tepui in Venezuela.
Yves Simon. French singer/writer that also happens to be one of Michel Foucault’s favorites.
The recently deceased Keith, born Nancy Gross in Salinas, Calif., in 1916, invented her persona as a teenager, growing into a chic woman who became known among the socially elite as Slim. Film director Howard Hawks and Broadway entrepreneur Leland Hayward divorced their wives to marry her; and although she was pursued by the likes of Clark Gable and Ernest Hemingway, the one love of her life, she writes, remained Hayward, who in turn left her for another woman. Her next and last husband was British banker Kenneth Keith, who provided her with a title and whom she left in 1972 after a 10-year marriage. Her “memoirs of a rich and imperfect life,” written with freelancer Tapert, is compulsively readable, an account of a determined striving up from the middle class to join the Beautiful People. Keith, a woman of style, is revealed also as boastful and betraying, as a gossiper who spared few friends–the real-life Lady Coolbirth of Truman Capote’s infamous Answered Prayers
Harold Smith represented Lloyds of London and many other insurance companies for over 50 years, specializing in fine-art and jewelry theft. He also was a security consultant for leading jewelers, museums and art galleries in the United States and overseas, including Sotheby’s, Christie’s, the Smithsonian, and the Getty Museum. Among his cases were the largest gold robbery in the history of the United States and the master theft of 13 paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, which included a remarkable Vermeer, “The Concert.”
Sociable weaver nest. Sociable weavers construct the largest nests of any bird, housing hundreds of individuals spanning many generations.
The Dilettante Society is a society of noblemen and scholars which sponsors the study of ancient Greek and Roman art, and the creation of new work in the style. It first met in 1732 and was formally established as a London dining club in 1734 by a group of people who had been on the Grand Tour. The Society has 60 members, elected by secret ballot. An induction ceremony is held at a London club. It makes annual donations to the British Schools in Rome and Athens, and a separate fund set up in 1984 provides financial assistance for visits to classical sites and museums.
Amazing trees grow on these islands. Socotra is considered the “jewel” of biodiversity in the Arabian sea.
Södra Ängby is a residential area blending functionalism with garden city ideals, located in western Stockholm. Encompassing more than 500 buildings, it remains the largest coherent functionalistic villa area in Sweden and possibly the world, still well-preserved more than a half-century after its construction in 1933–40.
Simon Spies was a famous Danish tycoon, best known for starting the charter airline Spies Rejser. He was known for his provocative views and flamboyant lifestyle. He was famous for employing at his private residence so-called morgenbolledamer, lit morning humping ladies. When going to the theater he would usually buy three tickets, leaving one seat for his cane and one for his dog Archibald.
Spooner has become famous for his “spoonerisms” (“He was killed by a blushing crow” – He was killed by a crushing blow). Few, if any, of his own spoonerisms were deliberate. After the concept of Spoonerisms became popularized, Spooner denounced a crowd that had gathered to hear him speak by saying, “You haven’t come for my lecture, you just want to hear one of those…things.”
Spooner is supposed to have committed other absent-minded gaffes. He was said to have invited a don to tea, “to welcome Stanley Casson, our new archaeology Fellow”. “But, sir,” the man replied, “I am Stanley Casson”. “Never mind,” Spooner said, “Come all the same.”
The spotted handfish is unusual in that it has highly adapted pectoral fins, which appear like hands (hence the name) and allow it to walk on the sea floor.
Stalag fiction was a short-lived genre of Israeli fiction Nazi exploitation that flourished in the early 1960s, at the time of the Eichmann Trial.Purported to be translations of English-language books by prisoners in concentration camps, these books were highly pornographic accounts of imprisonment, generally of Allied soldiers, sexual brutalization by female SS guards, and the prisoners’ eventual revenge, which usually consisted of the rape and murder of their tormentors. The books, with titles like I Was Colonel Schultz’s Private Bitch, were especially popular among adolescent boys, often the children of concentration camp survivors. They disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared. Within two years of the appearance of the first publication, the publishers were accused by an Israeli court of distributing pornography and the books were discontinued. Although still available underground, certain titles earned the ire of the establishment, and efforts were made to find and destroy them.
State Of Grace. After a long absence, Terry Noonan (Penn) is welcomed back to Hell’s Kitchen by his oldest childhood friend, Jackie Flannery (Oldman), a violent hothead who works as a gunman for an Irish-American gang led by his older brother, Frankie Flannery (Harris).
Dominic is a one-of-a-kind dog. One day this exuberant, restless, freedom-loving fellow decides there isn’t enough going on in his neighborhood to satisfy his need for adventure. And off he goes, with an assortment of hats (rakish, dashing, solemn, and martial), his precious piccolo, and a few other things, leaving a note on his door:
Dear Friends, I am leaving rather in a hurry to see more of the world, so I have no time to say goodbye to you individually. I embrace you all and sniff you with love. I don’t know when I’ll be back. But back I will be. Dominic.
In 1956, John Stephen took a lease on 5 Carnaby Street in the epicenter of London, a city on the cusp of a cultural and social revolution that would last for a decade. Before long, John Stephen was a cult name in fashion, revolutionizing the design of men’s shops and establishing the prototypical boutique aesthetic that was to be copied by an entire generation of fashion retailers. John Stephen set up in clothes at the right time in the right place for a generation waiting to intersect with his liberally colorful designs.
Adalbert Stifter was an Austrian writer, poet, painter, and pedagogue. He was especially notable for the vivid natural landscapes depicted in his writing, and has long been popular in the German-speaking world, while almost entirely unknown to English readers. Seemingly the simplest of stories—a passing anecdote of village life— Rock Crystal opens up into a tale of almost unendurable suspense. This jewel-like novella by the writer that Thomas Mann praised as “one of the most extraordinary, the most enigmatic, the most secretly daring and the most strangely gripping narrators in world literature” is among the most unusual, moving, and memorable of Christmas stories.
Yma Sumac a noted Peruvian soprano. In the 1950s, she was one of the most famous proponents of exotica music and became an international success, based on the merits of her extreme vocal range, which was said to be “well over four octaves“ and was sometimes claimed to span even five octaves at her peak.
A summer capital is a city used as an administrative capital during heat waves. Sadly, the concept is almost extinct, as air-conditioning systems has reduced the need to periodically relocate to a more temperate city. While artificial cooling of indoor air is a more efficient way of dealing with underarm sweat patches, it comes at the expense of the gorgeous extravagance of moving all political activity across the land you are trying to govern. Nothing inspires like a change of place who needs new ideas more than politicians? Artists already have residencies.
Notable summer capitals include San Sebastián in the northern part of Spain and Palanga, a Lithuanian seaside town.
Super black is a surface treatment developed at the National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom. It reflects much less light than the darkest conventional matte black paints available previously. Conventional black paint reflects about 2.5% of the incident light. Super black absorbs approximately 99.6% of light at normal incidence, and only 0.4% is reflected. At other angles of incidence, super black is even more effective. At an angle of 45°, super black reflects 1/25 as much as black paint.
Super-Kamiokande, or Super-K for short, is a neutrino observatory in the city of Hida, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. The observatory was designed to search for proton decay, study solar and atmospheric neutrinos, and keep watch for supernovas in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Superfluid is a state of matter in which the matter behaves like a fluid without viscosity and with extremely high thermal conductivity. The substance, which appears to be a normal liquid, will flow without friction past any surface, which allows it to continue to circulate over obstructions and through pores in containers which hold it, subject only to its own inertia.
A superpressure balloon is style of balloon where the pressure of lifting gas changes as the balloon temperature changes due to the heating and cooling of the diurnal cycle. This is an alternative to the more common approach of allowing the gas volume to change in response to diurnal heating and cooling. However, a change in gas volume will necessarily produce a change in the buoyancy of the aircraft which will necessarily lead to a change in altitude.
Atanas Sutkus was a Lithuanian photographer who shot everyday people in a time when Communist propaganda was the ruling style.
Swallow’s Nest is a decorative castle near Yalta on the Crimean shore in southern Ukraine.
Director of Hitler: A Film from Germany. Along with Syberberg’s characteristic and unusual motifs and style, the film is also notable for its 442 minute running time.
Szeemann invented the modern-day Großausstellung (“great exhibition”), in which the artworks are tied to a central concept and are assembled into new and often surprising interrelationships.